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  1. #1
    Spectacular Member Kuro no Shinigami's Avatar
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    Default The Impact of CCA on comics?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comics_Code_Authority

    The Comics Code Authority (CCA) was formed in 1954 by the Comics Magazine Association of America as an alternative to government regulation.

    So does anyone seriously think the government would regulate comics if the publishers had not formed the CCA to assuage the government? It might be an infringement on people's freedom of speech and expression.

    If the CCA had not existed, would the horror and crime comics still sell well until 1970's?

    Did the CCA's stringent rules force the creators, writers and artists including Stan Lee and Jack Kirby to be more creative in storytelling?

  2. #2
    Incredible Member Gotham citizen's Avatar
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    In an interview Dick Giordano said that on the long term the C.C.A. killed the romantic comics, because the readers grew up and started to ask for more mature content, but the authors couldn't give them those contents because they were against the C.C.A. rules, so in the end "the readers became overgrown for the comics they read" and the genre died. I think the same thing happened to all not superhero comics, the readers asked for content that the C.C.A. didn't allow and so they stop to read the comics.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kuro no Shinigami View Post

    So does anyone seriously think the government would regulate comics if the publishers had not formed the CCA to assuage the government?

    No ^
    In the end it was more about assuaging the news stand owners, that they were putting out something with some easily identifiable label.
    The other mags were always still legally allowed to publish and distribute, nobodies freedom was taken away. You can't force a newsstand to carry your book.
    So without the "label" they had to find other means to distribute, other than "mainstream" newsstands, and they did, hence "underground".
    Not saying it was fair or justified. just that's somewhat how it went.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kuro no Shinigami View Post

    Did the CCA's stringent rules force the creators, writers and artists including Stan Lee and Jack Kirby to be more creative in storytelling?
    Maybe, while DC comfortably went the more saccharine superheros are these colorful safe beings. Lee still came at it from more the monster and horror end, and approached them as being how society would see them too.
    So he had a foot in both worlds, intentionally blurred the lines, as their heroes could also be seen as the "monsters" by some.
    Which to many was a more interesting creative approach.
    Last edited by Güicho; 06-15-2020 at 07:23 AM.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kuro no Shinigami View Post
    So does anyone seriously think the government would regulate comics if the publishers had not formed the CCA to assuage the government? It might be an infringement on people's freedom of speech and expression.
    Yes-ish, government might have regulated comics. The Motion Picture Rating System, and its predecessor, the Hayes Office both emerged out of similar concerns.

    That said, aside from concerns about Wertham's conclusions about comics, you have to remember who was stirring the pot on all this: Estes Kefauver. Senator Kefauver had presidential ambitions and was poking at organized crime (much to J. Edgar Hoover's annoyance) as a means of raising his stature. Some think that his offering a platform for Wertham's dubious comics theories was really aimed getting at distribution companies that were mobbed up. So, had comics not self-regulated, pressure might have kept coming at them.

    All that said, comics were probably never important enough really bring the weight of the state down on them. Once Kefauver got what he wanted on the organized crime front, odds were that Wertham would have found Kefauver's aides weren't returning his calls any more.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kuro no Shinigami View Post
    If the CCA had not existed, would the horror and crime comics still sell well until 1970's?
    Hard to say. In cinema, film noir began to decline in the late 1950s, while horror proved a bit more durable. So I'd guess that as tastes changed in the 1960s, we'd probably have seen both fade, but crime comics more so.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kuro no Shinigami View Post
    Did the CCA's stringent rules force the creators, writers and artists including Stan Lee and Jack Kirby to be more creative in storytelling?
    That's a really tough one. It certainly closed off a few creative avenues for them, but more creative? I don't know. For example, had the undead still been on the menu in the early 1960s, would Ditko and Lee simply have thrown vampires at Dr. Strange instead of Nightmare and Dormammu, or would they still have been trying to do something really original to differentiate from DC? No way to tell.

  5. #5
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    In Canada, there were investigations of violence in comics causing juvenile delinquency and the government restricted what American comics could come into the country. This was in the late 1940s, when American comics were still being repackaged for sale in Canada.

    Canada's censorship encouraged people in the U.S. to do the same. And Wertham covers the whole Canadian affair in his book.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gotham citizen View Post
    In an interview Dick Giordano said that on the long term the C.C.A. killed the romantic comics, because the readers grew up and started to ask for more mature content, but the authors couldn't give them those contents because they were against the C.C.A. rules, so in the end "the readers became overgrown for the comics they read" and the genre died. I think the same thing happened to all not superhero comics, the readers asked for content that the C.C.A. didn't allow and so they stop to read the comics.
    I need more information to know what Giordano is talking about. On the face of it, this is nonsense. The whole approach to comics by publishers in the 1950s and 1960s expected generations of readers to age out. You weren't supposed to be reading the same comics all your life. Kids (like me and my siblings) started out by reading Dennis the Menace and Casper the Friendly Ghost. You would then graduate to reading Dell's adaptations of movies and T.V. programs--such as CINDERELLA and ZORRO. If you weren't already reading Archie Comics, you would get around to them as puberty set in.

    I guess that war and mystery appealed to older kids and maybe some adults. But it was really expected that anyone over the age of twelve would have grown out of the drugstore comic books. But they would have moved onto reading MAD magazine and, if they were daring, PLAYBOY and PENTHOUSE.

    My mother read the Harlequin romance books and my sisters read her books when they got to be teen-agers (one of my sisters had a copy of FEAR OF FLYING under her bed). I didn't know any girls that read the romance comics, but I imagine if someone started out with those, they would just naturally move on to reading Harlequins and women's magazines.

    As long as the same number of young readers replaced the ones that aged out, sales should have been at a steady state. It's not the Comics Code that undermined this system, since the Code was introduced in 1954, and the kind of generational reading I'm talking about existed in the 1960s.

    There were other factors that caused sales to decline--less and less stores carrying comic books, the rising prices, the availability of other media like T.V. When those sales declined, the number of readers of that target age were not enough to sustain these different genres. So now the genres had to cast a wider net, so the cumulative total of readers would be enough. And comics started to chase after the older readers, because the young kids didn't have enough money or interest to keep those titles going.

    D.C. could have offered adult content to readers, even when the Code was at full force, because the Code wasn't applied to other magazines. That's why MAD and Warren magazines didn't need to have approval. D.C. did flirt with this idea--with SPIRIT WORLD and IN THE DAYS OF THE MOB--but they lost their nerve, because they feared that the adult content in those mags would taint their clean family-friendly image. But Marvel did go ahead with their black & white magazines.
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  6. #6
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    My opinion is the government would be 100% involved in comics content if not for the cca. They were involved in film and modern art so comics would have ended up under their influence too.

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